13 ways to improve productivity with a CRM

improve productivity crm
1Automate tasks in your sales workflow
2Manage your activity
3Integrate your CRM with other tools
4Centralize your documentation
5Identify risks and opportunities with insights
6Give your reps access to the features they need
7Use labels and filters to access information quickly
8Work on deals collaboratively
9Capture leads with minimal effort
10A user-friendly experience makes it easier to complete work
11Better understand your customers
12Develop effective notetaking
13Keep your CRM up to date using a mobile app
Final thoughts

Customer relationship management (CRM) software offers a toolbox of features you can use to improve productivity. It can help you save time, build more effective processes and concentrate on high-value tasks.

A good CRM can help you focus your time, whether you’re working in the office or remotely, so that you can multitask and do more without working longer hours.

In this article, we’ll share practical tips for improving your productivity that you can start implementing today. From capturing leads to automation hacks, here are 13 ways your CRM can improve your productivity.

1. Automate tasks in your sales workflow

Automating your sales process reduces the number of tedious, time-consuming tasks, which will improve productivity and embed best practice.

We know a well-controlled and measured sales workflow is essential to driving growth. Let’s look at how to automate tasks in that process, which really helps with activity-based sales approaches.

Here are seven sales tasks that can be easily automated to increase productivity:

  1. Send personalized emails automatically: Keep prospects warm by sending emails when deals or leads reach certain stages.

  2. Change deal owner when a sale progresses: Allocate deals or leads to senior staff when they progress past a certain point.

  3. Create a follow-up task when new contacts are added: Make sure you don’t miss a valuable new opportunity.

  4. Pipeline management: Flag when deals hit a certain age or length of time with no contact.

  5. Prospect monitoring: Track contacts’ engagement with your business and employee engagements with contacts, such as email opens or emails sent, and automatically schedule activities.

  6. Add contact information: Automatically import information from survey services and use integrations to grab contact information from social media.

  7. Lead qualification and scoring: Use a CRM integration like SalesWing to empower your lead-vetting process.

Setting up those automations improves employee productivity and reduces the amount of time spent on admin tasks. That said, there’s a balance between high-quality automation and taking a personal approach, because tailoring the process to an individual can be a really effective strategy.

2. Manage your activity

Sales requires maintaining lots of relationships. Doing that effectively means recording a huge amount of information – thankfully, the days of rolodexes and wall charts are long gone.

CRMs offer a dynamic way to organize activity. Using your CRM to manage your time helps you avoid data duplication and makes sure you have access to everything you need.

A big part of productivity is focusing your attention on the most important tasks. CRMs like Pipedrive collate these actions into a single view and allow you to filter by specific time periods.

Syncing your calendar means you can track appointments and block out time to work on research and proposals, which helps to increase focus and prevent any interruptions. You’re also held accountable: by putting it into the calendar you’re committing to getting it done.

All this activity can then be viewed in a calendar or activities list. Setting the activity types to highlight actions that move sales forwards (calls, emails and meetings) increases focus too.

Try taking five minutes (or enough time for you, if you have a busy schedule) to update your calendar and tasks at the start of the workday.

The Kanban method of sales pipeline management

The Kanban method of project management was created by an engineer at Toyota Japan. The goal was to improve the productivity of the human elements of car manufacturing, but it’s now been adopted as a productivity tool the world over.

Kanban works by moving cards detailing work between lists, or from one column to the next, as the process progresses. The aim is to help you easily visualise the work that needs to be done.

It’s great for sales because you can have a one-page view of the progress of deals through your pipeline.

3. Integrate your CRM with other tools

Integrating a CRM with your other tools is a vital part of improving the productivity of your sales process.

Manually copying data from one system to another takes time and increases the potential for mistakes and your reps to fall into bad habits (like leaving important tasks until the end of the day). Integrations will help you avoid this, plus those with your marketing tech will make sure you’re capitalizing on all the data you have.

Check out Pipedrive Marketplace for tools that can boost your sales process, such as video conferencing tools like Zoom and Teams, and invoicing tools like QuickBooks and Xero.

Work in one ecosystem

Switching between different systems is time-consuming. It breaks your concentration and makes it harder to stay focused and organized.

The more powerful your CRM, the more elements of your job you can do within the tool and the easier it is to stay focused. Part of that’s about integrating other tools and part of it is about picking a CRM that manages the key functions of your role.

4. Centralize your documentation

Systemization is an essential element of sustaining revenue growth for many reasons, one being that building and refining repeatable actions allows you to train team members in best practices.

The key is capturing knowledge, keeping it up to date and making sure everyone has access. In the case of sales, that means key documents like proposals, quotes, contracts or email templates.

Don’t let those documents get dusty in an unused folder – embed them in your CRM using a tool like Pipedrive’s Smart Docs. Centralizing those resources saves time, makes sure everyone has access to the most up-to-date resources and helps make your sales process scaleable.

5. Identify risks and opportunities with insights

CRM dashboards give a one-page view of performance. Think of it as the monitor at a patient's bedside that displays all the important information.

The insights and reports that a dashboard gives you access helps you understand what to prioritize and where the issues are, driving productivity.

Key insights to include on your sales dashboard include:

  1. Leads and deals by source

  2. The number of deals in your pipeline

  3. The average size of each deal in your pipeline

  4. The average time from lead to closed sale

  5. Closing ratio: how many leads turn into sales

Look at the trends to identify risks and opportunities. You might notice risks such as your average deal size falling (are customers cutting budgets or are too many discounts being offered?) or conversion rate dropping at a particular stage (are you carrying out ineffective activity or qualifying leads poorly?).

6. Give your reps access to the features they need

Setting up the permissions correctly makes sure everyone has the access they need straight away.

The most productive way to manage access is to create permission sets for specific groups of team members. That means every time a new team member joins, you can quickly assign them the tools and access they need rather than setting up everyone individually.

7. Use labels and filters to access information quickly

Need to see contacts that are part of a particular outreach campaign? Want to see all clients that fit a certain persona?

Labels and filters will give you visibility over contact and company information, which means you can quickly get access to the information you need.

You might want to look at:

  • Deals that are older than three months

  • Lost deals

  • Deals owned by a particular salesperson

You can share filter views and insight reports with your team too. And, if you’re using a cloud-based CRM like Pipedrive, you can save links to those views in your bookmarks.

There’s also the option to add bespoke fields to the CRM, allowing you to tag people to specific marketing campaigns, for example.

8. Work on deals collaboratively

CRMs allow different team members to access information. Tagging people in comments means they can jump into a lead or deal and get straight to work.

Getting a notification from a colleague that it’s you’re time to take over a task can be motivational and help people focus.

Small businesses, especially, can benefit from working as a team, as it enables salespeople to have structured, short breaks and focus on tasks for a set period of time, preventing them from getting overwhelmed or procrastinating.

9. Capture leads with minimal effort

Manually recording leads is a time-consuming, painful process. Not only does it impact productivity, but you also risk making errors or missing opportunities.

So, you need to use your CRM to capture that information easily. Ideally, you want leads that come from online inquiries (downloads, contact forms etc.) to be imported to the CRM automatically. That means it goes straight into your workflow.

Chatbots offer another way to improve productivity. Answering customers’ questions can help qualify leads and make sure people get the help they need (Pipedrive offers a LeadBooster add-on, so you can quickly set up a chatbot or web forms).

It’s possible to automatically book meetings with a chatbot too, whether they come from a traditional inquiry form or an AI-powered chatbot, by syncing it up with your reps’ calendars.

10. A user-friendly experience makes it easier to complete work

Salespeople thrive in conversational settings. Everyone’s different, but those outgoing attributes are often coupled with a frustration with administrative tasks.

As a salesperson, you’re probably more interested in getting on the phone and selling than working through a data cleanse, and rightly so.

A well-set-up CRM can be incredibly user-friendly and really helps with time management. Make it easy, even fun, to input data and you have a better chance of you and your team being productive, multitasking and getting the work done.

That means taking time to customize your CRM, including only capturing essential data, setting up your dashboard and pipeline, and generally thinking about building a great user journey.

It also means choosing a CRM that is set up to be intuitive and easy to pick up.

11. Better understand your customers

The better you understand customers, the easier it is to qualify conversations, which means less time spent on phone calls.

The process relies on effective questioning, but your CRM can provide data-driven insights to supercharge the process.

Here are some examples of trends that will help you improve qualification:

  • How demographic data, such as employee numbers, relates to deal size

  • The average time it takes to close a deal by persona and when deal age is an indicator it should be closed

  • Tracking the reason deals are lost to spot any leaks in your pipeline

Taking time to deep-dive into these trends allows you to reinforce your personas and better qualify, so you can be more productive.

12. Develop effective notetaking

Meeting notes are crucial to capturing information about a deal, but it’s an art to write them in a way that captures valuable information quickly and makes them accessible to everyone.

Improving your notetaking skills can improve your productivity by making the follow-up process a lot easier. A good CRM will help you hone these skills with notes linked to deals and leads.

  1. Use effective headings: Make notes more accessible by highlighting important sections such as “Follow-up activity” or “Client targets”.

  2. Write with your colleagues in mind: Sharing information so that everyone gets value from it makes it easier to collaborate and forces you into good habits.

  3. Know what you need to record from each meeting: This will inform your qualification and follow-up practices.

  4. Be succinct: Short sentences and bullet points can help you capture information quickly.

Update your CRM straight away: Getting notes into the CRM as q

13. Keep your CRM up to date using a mobile app

Make that time sitting in the lobby or taking the train post-meeting count! You could be taking notes, assigning tasks and planning your follow-up activity on your mobile.

Most CRMs now have a comprehensive mobile app that allows you to easily track activity and, most importantly, keep everything updated on the move.

Rather than keeping a list in a notepad, or trying to remember the updates you need to make when you get back to the office, you can quickly and easily make changes after a meeting.

The CRM’s search function will help you quickly locate information too, should you need to find something before a meeting.

Final thoughts

Targeting people effectively, following up diligently and capturing valuable information are a necessary part of sales—and doing them well makes a big difference (not just to productivity, but potentially to morale, wellness and mental health as well).

It’s amazing how small steps to increase your productivity can add up to big gains. Save 20 minutes a day and that adds up to roughly 11 days a year you get back. Not to mention the fact that you’re making the sales process more effective and fun in the process.

A CRM can be especially useful if your team is working remotely, as it can be used no matter what workspace your in. You can encourage your team to check-in when they go online and track their efforts on a CRM tool to make sure they’re getting things done.

Hopefully, this post has inspired you to start implementing approaches to improve your productivity today.

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